Welcome to a week when retailers look back in hindsight and wish they had started the process sooner.
Clarks are reviewing their estate with a view to exiting sites that are no longer paying back. Asda are looking at another quarter of sales declines and are questioning decisions of times gone by, regretting being over-zealous when they trimmed muscle along with the fat.
A retail strategy review is underway in both retailers, and will take them forward. The regret is that it is a reactive review and not proactive.
Hindsight is a marvellous thing.
The fact is it is typically when a retailer finds itself in a challenging position that we are called in. They are looking for an objective point of view and solutions to restore the business to growth, reactive rather than proactive. The back foot is an awkward position to push forward from and means you are off to a slower start and are playing catch up.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But then inevitably it does break. Retailers should be continually revisiting its retail strategy, tweaking and testing to move into the next gear. A static strategic plan, is a static retailer. It does little to prepare a business for the future and does little to protect a business from what will be coming around the corner.
Preparation is key. No, actually evolution is key.
A business that is continually evolving, re-assessing the market and its customer’s needs is one that will out-pace its competitors. While it will not be 100% right 100% of the time, it will be better prepared for change, more agile and more proactive. It will be a business that doesn’t put up barriers. It will be a business that is positioned for growth.
Our advice to retailers in a reactive position is to identify the problem, address it but be proactive from here on and build in regular temperature checks when the retail strategy is assessed and tweaked.
While the retailers in this week’s headlines try to push off from the back foot, we would welcome the opportunity to help you get onto the front foot and help you discover the value of evolving.